Pernil al Horno, Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Crispy Rosemary & Sage Fingerling Potatoes

(As you can see, I didn’t get a good shot of the dish… I was running around trying to get everything finished as the dinner guest were arriving…)

Pernil al Horno:

This is something I saw once on a cooking show, and thought “I wanna eat that.” But, I couldn’t find a place that serves this dish. So, I figured out how to cook it. Anytime I am having a dinner party, this is the first thing that pops into my head to cook.

5-6 lb “Boston butt” pork shoulder – bone in, preferably with the skin still on.

Spice Rub:
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper

1 large sweet yellow onion (Walla Walla or Mayan)
“A handful” fresh oregano, stems removed
2 limes
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of beer (I like to use Two Cats Kölsch by Capture by Porches – something not too hoppy but unpasteurized, so the yeast gets into the marinade.)

An entire head of garlic – puréed into a paste

Take the pork shoulder, and make a criss-cross pattern with a paring knife on the two sides that have the most fat – cutting at least a 1/4 inch into the meat. Mix all of the ingredients for the Spice Rub into a shaker, and cover the meat with the mixture. Then, rub it in good with you hands, getting down into the slits you have cut.

For the Marinade, purée the onion and oregano in a food processor. Mix into a large non-conductive container with the beer, orange juice, and the juice from the two limes. Place meat into the container, seal, and put in the refrigerator overnight.

When you are ready to cook, smear the puréed garlic paste into the slits on the fatty side of the meat.

Now… I use a “Big Easy Oiless Turkey Fryer” to cook this. If you have access to one of these, you should cook the shoulder on the lowest setting and cook for 8 hours. But, you can also cook this in an oven at 350°F in a basting pan or on a grilling rack. Cook pork for about 35 minutes per pound or until meat registers 150°F on a meat thermometer. The meat should fall apart with a fork.

The Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta recipe can be found here and the Crispy Rosemary & Sage Fingerling Potatoes can be found here.

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For the beer to serve with dinner, I decided to go with a bottle of the Kindred  collaboration between The Commons Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing.


Goan Shrimp Curry, Green Bean Pakoras, Grilled Garlic Naan

Goan Shrimp Curry:

This is a slightly altered version of a recipe from Neelam Batra’s 1,000 Indian Recipes.

5 to 7 large cloves of garlic, peeled
6 quarter sized slices of peeled fresh ginger
25 to 30 fresh curry leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp red chili flakes
1½ tsp ground black mustard seeds
1½ tsp garam masala + ½ tsp for garnish
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp ground turmeric
¼ cup white vinegar
3 medium vine ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 tbsp peanut oil
2 (1 inch) sticks cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 small sweet onion, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
1 to 1¼ lb raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, tails removed
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

In a food processor, mix the first 11 ingredients (minus the ½ tsp of garam masala for garnish), together. Then, add tomatoes and process until puréed.

Heat oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat and cook the cinnamon and bay leaves, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add the onion and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Mix in the spicy tomato  paste and until most of the juices evaporate and the sauces becomes thick, about 20 minutes.

Add  the shrimp to the pan and cook until they are pink and opaque, about 7 minutes. Mix in the cilantro during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Sprinkle ½ tsp of garam masala on top, and serve.

Green Bean Pakoras:

This recipe (which is based on this recipe) is an attempt to replicate a dish that was occasionally on the menu on the now shuttered Vindalho.

1 cup chickpea flour
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp garam masala
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ cup water
1 qt oil for deep frying
¾ lb green beans, ends trimmed / removed.

Sift the chickpea flour into a medium bowl. Mix in the coriander, salt, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala and garlic.

Make a well in the center of the flower. Gradually pour the water into the well and mix to form a thick, smooth batter.

Heat the oil over high heat in a large in heavy saucepan – preferably cast iron.

Coat the green beans in the batter and fry them in small batches until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a metal colander that is in a bowl (to catch the grease).

Grilled Garlic Naan:

½ stick of salted butter
½ head of garlic, roasted and chopped
1 tbsp of chopped cilantro (optional)

Since Trader Joe’s stopped carrying their Frozen Garlic Naan, I had to go with Whole Foods’ Naan – which does not have the garlic.

Mix in a cast-iron basting pot and place on heated grill. Grill the naan for 2 to 4 minutes a side, brushing with the garlic butter mixture.

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Recommend beverage: The Crux Fermentation Project‘s Impasse Saison.

Corned Beef, Braised Red Cabbage, Crispy Rosemary & Sage Fingerling Potatoes

Corned Beef:

1 corned beef brisket – at least 3 lb. I get mine from the meat counter at Sheridan Fruit Co. – but this recipe works with pre-packaged meat as well.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Then, rinse the meat and brush off any seasoning or gelatin that may be stuck to the meat. Wrap tightly in tinfoil and place on the rack of a roasting pan with the fat side facing up. Cook one hour for every pound. Remove foil the last hour and drain any liquids that have accumulated in the pan before placing back on the rack of a roasting pan. Be sure that the fat side is still facing up, so that the outer layer will caramelize and get crispy. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.

Keep the leftovers for Corned Beef Hash.

Braised Red Cabbage:

1 tbsp bacon fat
1 tbsp butter
⅓ cup shallots, chopped fine
½ cup white wine
1 small head of red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
fresh cracked black pepper
3 tbsp malt vinegar

Melt the butter and bacon fat in a large heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat. Sautée shallots until fragrant. Pour in white wine, then add in cabbage and cook for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the malt vinegar just before serving.

Crispy Rosemary & Sage Fingerling Potatoes:

This started out as a Bon Appétit recipe, but then morphed into my attempt to replicate the fries from Lardo – without having to use a deep fryer.

¾ lb fingerling potatoes – the smaller the better
2 tbsp lard
5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 to 1½  tsp fresh rosemary, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 to 1½ tbsp fresh sage, chiffonade
¼ cup parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 425°

Place the potatoes in a large heavy bottom pot, cover with cold water, add a sprinkle of salt and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. When the potatoes have cooled, cut in half lengthwise.

Heat the lard (which I also get from Sheridan Fruit Co.) in a Pyrex baking pan until melted. Add the potatoes and coat with the melted lard. Mix in chopped garlic and season heavily with sea salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes so that the cut side is facing up. Bake for 30 minutes at 425°.

Sprinkle rosemary and sage over potatoes, toss and continue cooking another 10-15 minutes or until the cut side of potatoes is brown and blistering. After serving, garnish with the parmesan (Which, I forgot to pick up – so I used some  extra sharp white cheddar instead.).

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As for what to drink with dinner, I went with a bottle of Prunus by Propolis Brewing.

Aleppo Chicken Kebabs, Asparagus with Preserved Lemon, Fried Jambon & Olives

Aleppo Chicken Kebabs:

This recipe was part included part of Steven Raichlen‘s article “A Globe-Trotter’s Guide to BBQ” in an issue of Bon Appétit back in 2009. This recipe was also included in his essential Planet Barbeque cookbook. I’ve deviated just a little by leaving out the tomato paste and using sea salt instead of kosher salt.

1½ tbsp Aleppo pepper
1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 unpeeled lemons: 1 thinly sliced into rounds, 1 cut into wedges for serving
1¼ to 1½ lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs – cut into 1½ inch cubes

Place the Aleppo pepper in large bowl and mix in 1 tablespoon warm water. Let stand until thick paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, 2 tsp coarse salt, and 1 tsp black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made one day ahead. Keep chilled.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Thread chicken pieces on metal skewers, dividing equally. Discard marinade in bowl. Sprinkle each skewer with salt, pepper, and additional Aleppo pepper. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning skewers occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter. Surround with lemon wedges and serve.

Asparagus with Preserved Lemon, Fried Jambon & Olives:

This is a dish I’ve trying to replicate from Toro Bravo… I’m hoping the recipe will be in John Gorman’s recently published cookbook.

¼ lb of Niman Ranch Jambon Royale (or some really good smoked ham)
1 lb asparagus
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
⅓ cup of garlic cured green olives, pitted and cut in half lengthways
¼ tsp of preserved lemon, peel only – chopped very fine
1 to 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

Fry up the Jambon Royale in some bacon fat to crisp – sort of like bacon. Set aside. Note: Do not used pressed ham. It will not come out right. I ended up using pancetta this time, since I couldn’t find any ham that was not pressed.

Wash asparagus and snap off hard ends. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Then garlic is fragrant add asparagus tips, cover pan, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Next, add olives and preserved lemon. Cover, and let cook for another 2 minutes. Crumble the fried Jambon Royale and mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

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For the beer to serve with dinner, I decided to go with a bottle of the Emelie by The Commons Brewery.